Vikings take first round regional game over Bulldogs

COLFAX — After defeating the Boyceville Bulldogs in a double header four days earlier, the Colfax baseball team took it to ‘em again, this time in the opening round of the regional tournament played in Colfax May 24 by a score of 11-4. It was a good news-bad news game as winning allows them to keep playing but their next opponent is state ranked and number one seed Elk Mound.

Taking early leads always seems to help a team and that’s exactly what the Vikings did. They scored three runs in the first after Michael Hover walked, stole second, moved up on a basehit from Austin Lee and came home on an Ethin Kiekhafer smash to the infield. Jarrod Rudi then added a two run blow to centerfield to bring Lee and Kiekhafer in.

Colfax added another run in the second frame as Jeremiah Wait singled, stole second and crossed the plate on another hit, this time off the bat of Nate Liebfried.

Hover was on the mound and although he breezed through the first three innings, striking out three Bulldogs along the way, he hit a glitch in the fourth. Boyceville apparently was not ready to end their season quite yet and they came up with three runs when Hover hit a batter then gave up a double and a single. Shortstop Wait and first baseman Kiekhafer combined for a nice defensive play as Wait fielded a ball over second and Kiekhafer dug the ball out of the dirt for the second out. A run was scored and another basehit scored the third run for the Bulldogs. Hover then whiffed the next batter to get out of the jam with the Vikings up by one.

But that only seemed to fuel the fire for Colfax, as they came up with seven runs in the fourth to blow the game open. With five straight hits off Boyceville pitcher Jordan Kuhn started by a lead off double from Jeremiah Harder, Wait, Liebfried and Hover all teed off and sent shots to different parts of the field. Lee added a double to the fence in center, forcing Bulldog coach Tim Engel to go to his bullpen. After a new hurler, Hunter Alexander, forced a ground out, DeMoe slammed an RBI double and Rudi brought in another run on a Bulldog throwing error. Harder then brought in another run on a basehit.  After Logan Mittelstadt followed with a single, Harder was thrown out at the plate to end the inning with Colfax up 11-3.

Hover struck out the first batter to start the fifth, but began to struggle as he walked the next batter and after an errant pick off throw, the runner scored all the way from first. Hover then gave up two more free passes, prompting coach Tim Wilson to bring in his own reliever, being Kiekhafer. A pair of ground outs to third baseman DeMoe ended the inning with just the one run coming home and two Bulldogs left on the basepaths.

Colfax left a pair of runners on themselves in the bottom of the frame but after Kiekhafer walked the Bulldogs’ lead off batter in the sixth, he bore down and whiffed three straight to end the inning. He finished off the game with a ground ball and two fly outs in the seventh to give Colfax the win.

“We had some big hits but we have to improve our defense if we want to continue in the playoffs,” Wilson said. “But anything can happen–that’s why you play the games.”

Hover was credited with the win, allowing four runs with three hits, five strikeouts and four walks. Liebfried was 2 for 3 at the plate with three RBIs, Rudi batted 2 for 4, also with three RBIs, Lee finished 2 for 4 bringing in two runs and Harder was 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Boyceville    0  0  0  3 1  0  0 – 4
Colfax            3  1  0  7  0  0  X – 11